Hundreds Airlifted From Stranded Cruise Ship Amid Rough Seas Off Norway Coast
Hundreds of tourists have been airlifted from a cruise ship after it became stranded off the west coast of Norway.
The Viking Sky lost power on Saturday amid rough seas and sent out a mayday signal as it drifted towards rocks.
Fisherman Jan Erik Fiskerstrand - whose boat was one of the first to come to the aid of the stranded cruise ship - told Norwegian news outlet Aftenposten the ship could have smashed into rocks 'if they had not started the engine and fastened the anchor' and that the rescue occurred 'just minutes before this could have gone really wrong'.
Footage taken from on board shows high waves battering the ship as furniture slides and crashes from side to side.
Almost 500 of the 1,373 passengers, most of whom are British or American, have been airlifted from the Viking Sky thus far. At least 17 of the airlifted passengers have been taken to hospital with injuries.
Three of the ship's four engines have been restarted and it is now being guided towards the nearest port in Molde with the assistance of tug boats.
The cruise ship was travelling from Tromso to Stavanger when it hit trouble in a stretch of waters that are notoriously dangerous.
Derek Browne, who was airlifted with his wife Esther, said it was a 'frightening experience'.
According to the BBC, he said: "During the night, the sea was very rough. The boat rolled and rolled. And then we went to breakfast. And then we were going for the afternoon film show, and then the lights suddenly went out.
"We were airlifted on the helicopter, which was quite a frightening experience."
Thanks everyone, parents airlifted off safe and being assessed. Thank you to cruise staff and rescue workers.
Appreciate everyone's support and messages. :pray::pray:
- Graeme Smith (@GraemeSmith49) March 23, 2019
Former South African cricketer Graeme Smith shared his thanks on Twitter, after his parents were airlifted from the ship.
The Viking Sky is owned by Viking Ocean Cruises and made its maiden voyage in 2017.
Featured Image Credit: PA